As part of Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings' Transportation Initiative , the County wants locals to take its Transportation Survey before it closes February 7th. The feedback will be instrumental in the creation of a plan for the future of transportation in our region according to the County. This is Phase 1 of the initiative.
Orange County held public workshops to gain input from community stakeholders, learn the priorities of residents, businesses and local leaders, and build towards a long-term solution that works for everyone. Watch past Transportation Initiative meetings:
From these community meetings, Orange County gathered feedback and developed a proposed plan to improve transportation.
According to the County, current public transit is inadequate. It says that LYNX bus routes do not meet the current demand, and SunRail does not run enough. LYNX has approximately 300 buses but services a massive 2,500 square miles. Compare this to Allegheny County in Pittsburgh where the county services only 745 square miles with 700 buses. Increased funding for LYNX could increase the number of routes and frequency and reduce most wait times by 50%, ultimately helping improve reliability and dependability for riders.
The County says funds are lacking. Orange County ranks among the bottom third in the state – 43rd out of 67 counties – for transportation spending per capita. The gas tax is stagnant. The Federal fuel tax, which funds about half of all state highway and bridge projects, is flat because of better technology and fuel efficiency. Over the years, the gas tax has lost 39 percent of its spending power, even as infrastructure needs continue to grow. The average monthly household cost of driving is $1,079. However, a monthly bus service pass is only $50.
The County wants a transportation penny sales tax for various roadway improvements and transportation infrastructure, including:
Technology - traffic signals and street lights - timing of traffic signals and major roadway lighting
Roads - adding lanes and resurfacing roadways
Public transportation - LYNX and SunRail
Intersections - adding turn lanes
The sales tax would generate $596 million per year based on the Florida Department of Revenue projection as of September 27, 2019. According to a consultant study by PFM that was commissioned by Visit Orlando, at least 51% of the funds generated would be paid for by tourists and visitors outside of Orange County. The tax would only apply to the first $5,000 per single purchase of retail goods and services. The tax would not include the essential food items (e.g., milk, bread), prescription drugs, and utilities.